It’s Beginning To Look A Little Like Christmas

Christmas is exactly one week away, but I don’t feel very festive right now and I didn’t feel festive at all until today.

It’s weird. I can definitely think of a few reason why I might feel the way I do, though, including, but not limited to:

School. I got home super late on Thursday night and although it is almost Sunday as I write this, I’m still in that school mindset. Maybe it’s because I had to complete an entire take-home final yesterday that I’d meant to finish earlier and turned it in three minutes before it was due. (Tip: Don’t do this.) Maybe it’s because my approach to this semester was to just go go go and work as hard as possible. To make a long story short, I’m not 100% sure why I’m still so focused on school: All I know is that it’s been on my mind a lot and I can’t seem to move on.

The election. LMAO THIS ELECTION OVERSHADOWED EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED AFTER NOVEMBER EIGHTH. It was really hard for me to concentrate on my schoolwork afterward (see, there I go thinking about school again) and more than a month later it continues to worry me. It did a number on my mental health and so it’s as if I haven’t quite noticed the past few weeks slipping away. We’ve finally arrived at the holiday season now and it feels kind of surprising to me because where did the time go?

Depression. If I had to describe how the past four Christmases have felt I would say, “a detached, apathetic haze.” It’s hard to be excited about eating special food for Christmas or New Year’s when I feel like shit about my weight, and it’s equally hard to look forward to holiday parties when I know that interacting with people will leave me feeling drained.

Growing up. My feelings about various holidays or occasions have changed over time, which makes sense. But I can’t help feeling nostalgic for Decembers past, which usually leads to me feeling sad and depressed, which leads to me escaping back into the nostalgia as a way to feel less sad. Christmases seemed to be fewer and farther apart when I was little because I hadn’t experienced many of them and because waiting a whole year for the next Christmas seemed impossible in the eyes of a five-year-old: That was one-fifth of her entire life so far! Ever since I hit my late teens, it’s just been like… wait, is it really Christmas again? Again? But it was just Christmas not that long ago! Oh well, guess we’re doing this whole thing over again.

There are probably a few other reasons I feel this way, but I can’t think of any more right now – or adequately put them into words. I just know that I wish Christmas made me feel like it used to.

I wish that this whole season made me feel like it used to, actually, not just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The days leading up to it, and the days between it and New Year’s, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I miss the time when all of my family’s holiday traditions felt happy and fun and absorbing, when it felt like there was a point to everything and I wasn’t just going through the motions.

This year has been particularly weird in that department, though. Am I theoretically looking forward to Christmas? Heck yes. Do I actually feel excited about this season, deep down inside me? Um. No. Not really. I don’t know. Maybe a little bit. Not as much as I should, or as I want to.

I’ve been doing my best, though, and did actually start to feel a tiny bit festive today! My mom and I made cookies and I listened to some of my favorite holiday music: Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas album and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. I cut out more than twenty paper snowflakes the other day and I’m planning to make some more. I’m going to send cards to a few friends: I had the brilliant idea to find some holiday-related literary quotes and write them inside! I hope to watch some Christmas movies (CarolHow The Grinch Stole Christmas!) and maybe even read something festive as well.

I enjoy all of those activities for what they are – an amusement, a distraction from everything else that’s going on in my life or in the world. I love the Nutcracker because it’s gorgeous. I love reading things such as “A Christmas Carol” because the story is so well crafted. They just don’t make me feel very festive, but hopefully they will soon. I know a lot of Christmas cheer is manufactured and commercialized, but I used to adore this season as a little girl and even last year I felt more excited for it than I do now. So here’s to hoping that I feel that Christmas spirit soon.

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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3 Responses to It’s Beginning To Look A Little Like Christmas

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    The early years of adulthood are so weird when it comes to Christmas — outgrowing some traditions, renegotiating family relationships as you or others move away / return home, trying to remember how to be excited and not just stressed, etc etc. I think it takes a different form for everyone and depression makes it even worse, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who could relate to this post a lot.

    I feel like I’m getting better at the whole Christmas thing. Well, better than 2013, when the thought of it made me have panic attacks and I was barely functioning throughout December and I didn’t get very many presents at all because of debilitating anxiety; those I did get, it was on Christmas Eve and somewhat hasty. Plus I was severely depressed and in a lot of physical pain because of my wrists. I think each year since then has been a gradual improvement on that, and on the plus side, it set a fairly low bar for me to beat. This year I’ve actually done almost all my shopping already (just my brother’s present left) and it’s all wrapped and ready under the tree. I’m still anxious about how many people are going to be in the house on Christmas Day, still wondering when it got more stressful than fun, and still dreading the whole food element because I have a very poor relationship with food and don’t enjoy it much, but… it’s progress.

    Gonna be weird though. My brother’s engaged and he and his fiancée is with us for Christmas. My sister’s only coming home for two days; her boyfriend isn’t coming this time, but most of their presents are joint now they live together. My cousin’s just changed her name. It feels like our family is being changed and reformed on every side and it’s weird tbh. Not bad weird. Just… especially noticeable at this time of year.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that Christmas as a young adult seems to be fraught and tricky for most of us, so you’re not alone, and when you add depression into the mix it’s understandably sucky. I feel you, but I would also like you to know that my Christmasses have gradually improved despite depression etc, and hopefully yours will too. 🙂

  2. mattblack42 says:

    For me, Christmas went straight downhill once I found out Santa didn’t exist. Not only was the magic gone, but I still had to sit through church for 2 hours straight, which was especially painful on the years where Christmas wasn’t on a Sunday. (I have to go to church twice in one week? No thanks.)

    However, my opinion has rebounded over the past year or two, mainly because now I actually like my family, and I realized that for me, Christmas is all about family. And Christmas-themed specials. And Coca-Cola and Harry Potter, for some reason.

    Anywho, because you seem like you could use some cheering up, here’s a video you might have seen already, but I hope you haven’t ’cause I think you’d like it.

  3. I really resonated with what Miriam wrote. Christmas was the worst in college. It only became special to me again when I married someone who clung very tightly to Christmas as an uplifting thing at the end of the year. He’s an English teacher, and does “A Christmas Carol” every year with the students, and he passed that on to me. Then once I had a kid, well… it gets magical again. Not that you should make a baby just for that reason! But you are NOT alone in your holiday alienation. Not at all!

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